THE BEHOLDER

By Conor HORGAN

WILDFIRE FILMS AND TELEVISION PRODUCTIONS LTD - as PROD

Documentary - Completed 2010

An exploration of the processes occurring during the making of a portrait, with particular attention given to the intimacy between artist and subject

    • Year of production
    • 2010
    • Genres
    • Documentary
    • Countries
    • IRELAND
    • Languages
    • ENGLISH
    • Director(s)
    • Conor HORGAN
    • Producer(s)
    • Martha O'NEILL (Wildfire Films)
    • Synopsis
    • The making of a portrait is an intimate experience, which can
      be a pleasurable event for both parties or one that's fraught with
      difficulties – either way, to paint someone’s picture is a great way
      of really getting to know them.
      In a world where anyone can make a realistic likeness
      on their phone, the importance of the painted portrait
      remains: as an emblem of power and prestige, as a political
      act and ultimately as a memorial.
      These themes and others are explored through the work of three of
      Ireland’s most notable portrait painters. James Hanley’s meticulously
      crafted paintings of luminaries such as Bertie Ahern and former
      Olympian Ronnie Delany have led him to be called “the unofficial
      court painter of the Irish Establishment”. Mick O’Dea is a natural
      painter who has made thousands of portraits, from street pictures to
      commissioned sittings, over the course of his thirty –year
      career. Brian Maguire paints with an intense energy, completing
      a telling picture in a matter of hours. He works with people
      from many parts of society, such as prisoners and the homeless, who would
      not usually be seen on a gallery wall.
      Each artist is seen creating new work and showing some of their best
      portraits, and each of them is a case study in how the human face is an
      endlessly fascinating inspiration for great art.
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